Skip to main content

Context and Early Origins of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Abstract

Climate change is a problem which is global both in terms of causes and consequences. The uncertainties are large and likely to persist. Meanwhile, the political and economic stakes of both action and inaction are much higher than those in other transboundary concerns such as acid rain and ozone depletion. The public policy impact of scientific opinions on climate change, therefore, not only depends upon what is being said, but also, who is advancing those conclusions and how they were arrived at. This was the rationale behind the setting up of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1988. The paper examines the IPCC in the context of prior assessment efforts. It attempts to unravel the processes which caused the IPCC to be set up when it was and how it was, as opposed to different times and different forms.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Agrawala, S.: 1998, ‘Structural and Process History of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’, Clim. Change.

  2. Anonymous: 1987, US Draft Proposal on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

  3. Arrhenius, S.: 1896, ‘On the Influence of Carbonic Acid in the Air Upon the Temperature of the Ground’, Phil. Mag. 41, 237-271.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Bolin, B.: 1997, Interview with author, Stockholm, Sweden, March 6.

  5. Brenton, T.: 1994, The Greening of Machiavelli: The Evolution of International Environmental Politics, Earthscan Publications, London.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Do E: 1985, State of the Art Reports,Department of Energy, Washington, D.C.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Döös, B.: 1997, Interview with author, Vienna, Austria, February 4.

  8. EPA: 1983, Can We Delay Greenhouse Warming?: The Effectiveness and Feasibility of Options to Slow a Build-Up of Carbon-dioxide in the Atmosphere, Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C.

    Google Scholar 

  9. EPA: 1986, Effects of Changes in Stratospheric Ozone and Global Climate, United Nations Environment Programme / Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Fourier, J. B.: 1827, cited in Kellogg, W. W.: 1991, ‘Overview of Global Climate Change: The Science and Social Issues’, MTS Journal, 25(3).

  11. Hecht, A. D. and Tirpak, D.: 1995, ‘Framework Agreement on Climate Change: A Scientific and Policy History’, Clim. Change 29, 371-402.

    Google Scholar 

  12. IPCC: 1989, WMO/UNEP Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: Report of the First Session of the IPCC Bureau, WCP TD - No. 294. Geneva, 6-7 February.

  13. Jäger, J. (ed.): 1988, Developing Policies for Responding to Climatic Change’, WCIP-1, WMO/TD - No. 225, World Meteorological Organization, Geneva.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Keeling, C. D., Carter, A. F., and Mook, W. G.: 1984, ‘Seasonal, Latitudinal and Secular Variations in the Abundance and Isotope Ratios of Atmospheric CO2’, J. Geophys. Res. 89, 4615-4628.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Kellogg, W.: 1987,’ Mankind’s Impact on Climate: The Evolution of an Awareness’, Clim. Change 10(2), 113-136.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Kellogg, W. W., Coakley, J. A., and Grams, G. W.: 1975, ‘Effect of Anthropogenic Aerosols on the Global Climate’, Proc. WMO/IMAP Symposium on Long-Term Climatic Fluctuations, pp. 323-330.

  17. Mormino, J., Sola, D., and Patten, C.: 1975, Climate Impact Assessment Program: Development and Accomplishments 1971-1975, DOT-TST-76-41, Department of Transportation, Washington, D.C., December.

  18. NRC: 1977, Energy and Climate, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C.

  19. NRC: 1979, Carbon-dioxide and Climate: A Scientific Assessment, Climate Research Board, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C.

    Google Scholar 

  20. NRC: 1983, Changing Climate: Report of the Carbon Dioxide Assessment Committee, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, National Research Council, Washington, D.C.

  21. Obasi, G. O. P.: 1988, Letter to WMO Member Governments, WMO, Geneva, March 25.

    Google Scholar 

  22. Oppenheimer, M.: 1989, ‘Developing Policies for Responding to Climatic Change’, Clim. Change 15, 1-4.

    Google Scholar 

  23. PSAC: 1965, Restoring the Quality of our Environment: Report of the Environmental Pollution Panel, President’s Science Advisory Committee, The White House, Washington, D.C.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Ramanthan, V., Singh, H. B., Cicerone, R. J., and Kiehl, J. T.: 1985, ‘Trace Gas Trends and Their Potential Role in Climate Change’, J. Geophys. Res. 90, 5547-5566.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Revelle, R.: 1985, ‘Introduction: The Scientific History of Carbon Dioxide’ in: E. T. Sundquist and W. S. Broecker (eds.), The Carbon Cycle and Atmospheric CO2: Natural Variations Archean to Present, Geophysical Monograph 32, American Geophysical Union, Washington, D.C., pp. 1-4.

  26. Ripert, J.: 1997, Interview with author, Paris, France, March 14.

  27. SCEP: 1970, Man’s Impact on Global Environment, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass.

    Google Scholar 

  28. SMIC: 1971, Inadvertent Climate Modification, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass.

    Google Scholar 

  29. Sundararaman, N.: 1988, Background Materials for the First Session of the WMO/UNEP Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Geneva, Switzerland. November 6-11.

  30. Tolba, M.: 1988, ‘Warming:Warning’, Opening Speech at the First Session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Geneva, November 9.

  31. Tyndall, J.: 1863, ‘On Radiation Through the Earth’s Atmosphere’, Phil. Mag. 4, 200-207.

    Google Scholar 

  32. UNGA: 1988, Conservation of Climate as Part of Common Heritage of Mankind. Draft resolution proposed by Malta, October 26.

  33. Usher, P.: 1997, Interview with author, Bonn, Germany, March 4.

  34. WMO: 1979, Proceedings of The World Climate Conference, Report No. 537, WMO, Geneva. Switzerland.

    Google Scholar 

  35. WMO: 1985, International Assessment of the Role of Carbon Dioxide and of Other Greenhouse Gases in Climate Variations and Associated Impacts, Villach, Austria.

  36. WMO: 1989, Proceedings of the World Conference on the Changing Atmosphere: Implications for Global Security, Toronto, Canada, June 27-30.

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Agrawala, S. Context and Early Origins of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Climatic Change 39, 605–620 (1998). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1005315532386

Download citation

Keywords

  • Climate Change
  • Ozone
  • Public Policy
  • Stake
  • Acid Rain